You Write, I Listen

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2009

You readers have been especially prolific lately. I've wanted to share your thoughts with everyone else for some time now, but I've been running off at the mouth myself so much lately with predictions for the new year and recaps of the one just past that I haven't had the space. But that all changes this week.

Allow me to thank you, belatedly. In the past 18 months, this e-newsletter has become an invaluable connection for me to many important and influential folks that I would otherwise never have met. That helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what's important to you, and also helps me improve my coverage in HealthLeaders magazine each month. So without further delay, here are some of the most interesting comments I've received in recent months.

On my snarky news commentary about a "monument to healthcare excess" that may soon rise in Manhattan, one person in particular was perturbed. I'll admit my shot was fired in haste, but I stand by it. I also take issue with NYC being the "world's leading healthcare hub," but it's clearly not something that can be proved or disproved. Since I can't link to my original commentary, I'll reprint it here. The response runs after. I'll let you all judge who has the bigger conflict of interest—the writer or myself.


Developers in Manhattan are pitching a 60-story glass-and-steel tower on the island's West Side as an international showcase and permanent conference center for the healthcare industry. Supporters envision the building as a permanent exhibition center for hundreds of vendors to the medical industry, from hospital food and furniture suppliers to pharmaceutical companies and makers of X-ray machines and surgical devices, according to the article. Call me a cynic, but as the article describes it, I envision the building as a permanent version of the nauseating temporary booths vendors try to outdo each other with at the big healthcare trade shows—most of which are simply expensive tributes to excess. Perhaps they could add some penthouse apartments to house those ubiquitous "booth babes?"

Dear Mr. Betbeze:

Your Dec. 1 item about the highly-anticipated World Product Centre now being developed in New York missed the mark.

The World Product Centre is a visionary project that will reshape global healthcare. The 60-story, 1.5 million-square-foot center will be the world's first permanent international healthcare marketplace and education center. It will bring the most innovative medical devices, diagnostics, technology, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare services under a single roof. It will increase transparency in medical sales and lower healthcare costs worldwide.

Medical meetings and tradeshows are critical components of the international healthcare industry with more than 2,000 medical meetings and continuing medical education courses held in the United States each year. They should continue to operate as they currently do. The World Product Centre will complement these shows and meetings by adding a single location where a full array of medical products and services can be showcased on a year-round basis, and will provide a central meeting ground where technological synergies can take place.

New York already is the world's leading healthcare hub, so it is the logical location for a center of this kind. With close to 9 million international visitors to New York last year, it is the nation's No. 1 international destination, with more than 100 million passengers traveling though our airports.

The World Product Centre is scheduled to open in 2013. It will be a commanding addition to the global healthcare market.

Cristyne L. Nicholas, Former President and CEO of NYC & Company, the city's convention & visitors bureauThis one's a gem of a response to my Nov. 10 article on community benefit.

Dear Phil:

I think we can all agree that the original concept of the nonprofit community hospital run as a charitable cause by religious organizations has long since vanished. In its place are corporate businesses indistinguishable from their for-profit brothers and sisters (except for equity value).

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